Renewable vs. Non-Renewable

Energy and Society

BioMass

Biomass is a renewable resource that is obtained from organic living or recently living organisms. This resource could be either be converted to a gas and used for fuel, or used for electricity. Biomass is organic matter based on oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Wood is the most commonly used biomass energy source used today. Wood energy is received by using second generation biofuels, which are the converted forms of biomass. Biomass can also be converted to methane gas or ethanol. Ethanol can be produced from fermented crops such as corn.


Benefits:

1. For the most part, using biomass as a source of energy does not secrete carbon dioxide into the air.

2. The resource is renewable and practically infinite.

3. In some cases, garbage from landfills can be burned in order to create biofuel, which ends up reducing landfills.

4. There are many different uses for this fuel and can be used to create many different products.


Costs:

1. This form of energy is expensive to both produce and to buy.

2. It seems to be just as ineffective as using fossil fuels as a source of energy.

3. This source of energy consumes much more fuel in order to produce a considerable amount of energy.

4. While using this resource as a producer of energy does not release much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it does release methane gases which are also considerably harmful to the environment.

Coal

The material coal is a nonrenewable resource that is usually found in coal beds in the earth. The material is extracted from the earths crust by mining. Coal is composed of mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. Coal is formed from dead plants therefore, it is a fossil fuel. Coal is one of the largest sources of energy in the world at the moment, right next to oil. Most of the coal in the surface of the earth was formed billions of years ago and has slowly stopped forming over time.


Benefits:

1. Of course, continuing to mine coal will allow the coal miners to keep their jobs.

2. Coal is not an expensive energy source since it does not have to be produced.

3. Coal as a mineral can be used for many different things

4. Collecting coal does not depend on the weather at the time rather than biomass, which requires the correct weather to produce the vegetation to convert into biomass.


Costs:

1. Using coal as a source of energy has an enormous effect on the environment and is often connected to "Climate Change".

2. This is a nonrenewable resource, so the supply of coal in the earth's crust will eventually run out.

3. Mining the coal in a very compact mine creates health risks for the miners who inhale fumes.

4. Coal seams are usually densely surrounded by wildlife such as forests and rivers so mining the area will create damage in the surrounding environment.